Doing the Impossible


“I want to be able to play a different characters,” the actor said to me.

And then added … “And I know that I have to just use different parts of my own personality – but when I look inside me I can’t find any different bits.”

That’s interesting I thought.   As a simple articulation of a basic practicality of acting process we would all agree that the character is always you.  In fact, I love the concept that … ‘there is no character, it is just you’.

But … how do you find the other sides of you?

I tried the process the actor had tried.  I literally looked inside myself to see what other aspect I could find.  Like the actor I drew a blank.  Looking for a specific unnamed part of me was impossible.  I couldn’t find a thread of logical impulse or understanding to work on.

verbs.RichI asked the actor what ‘need’ (unconscious desire) had been used when playing the scene.  The choice was fine and had worked well.  We walked across to the list of verbs on the wall of The Rehearsal Room and picked ‘to dominate’ as another ‘need’ option.  Instantly the personality of the character changed.  We tried ‘to share’ and instantly the personality changed.  We tried ‘to be respected’ and another instant change occurred.

Each time listening and complexity was excellent.  Each time the change was totally convincing and instantly effective.

That is how The Rehearsal Room list of verbs works.  It is a tool that delivers complexity and enables the actor to manage the nature of the character.  That is because it primes the actor to follow patterns of behaviour.  Patterns of behaviour reveal a person’s nature.  If you can manage patterns of behaviour simply and effectively then you can play different characters.

It’s that simple.




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